July 14, 2012

Colton Brock: Wait, Whut?

by Jerome du Bois

Like three drunks who partook of too many Pomegranate Palomas, artist Colton Brock, writer Claire Lawton, and New Times proofreader Julie Peterson manage to mangle style, substance, syntax and spelling in a few short paragraphs. It is unclear whether this mini-profile emerged from a live interview, a phone conversation, or written answers to submitted questions. Doesn't matter; read the results.

When he's not mixing jazzy cocktails at Barrio Queen Tequileria in Scottsdale, he's painting. "Mixing pigments on a pallet is no different than balancing flavors in a glass," he says. "Just as colors can be sweet, salty or downright bland, every flavor embodies a very specific color composition. No matter the medium, the goal is to strive for that balance in compliments, continuity and composition."

Put down the jazzy cocktails and pay attention, you three. Here is a pallet. Here is a palette, and here's another palette. Oh, and here is a palate, since we're all drinking. (Mine's PBR.)

For all I know, perhaps Mr. Brock does mix his colors on a pallet. He probably wouldn't be the first, though I haven't done the research. He is a competent draftsman, but the subject matter of his paintings are banal, barely worth the effort, and hardly distinguishable from those of many other painters. For example, here's one. Except for Brock's drippy gimmick --a popular dreary trope worldwide-- they could do each other's work. I hope his drinks taste better than his paintings look.

Speaking of both, consider "the goal is to strive for that balance in compliments, continuity and composition." Nice try at alliteration, you three, but you stumble. I think Mr. Brock meant complements, elements which enhance something, bringing it to perfection --and maybe leading to compliments, polite expressions of praise or admiration.

Let's continue:

I arrived in Phoenix . . . with blue eyes and six pounds ten ounces of baby fat clumsily wrapped around a heart no larger than a walnut. I knew nothing before Phoenix, and as much as I love and am able to travel, I vow to nothing after. This is my town.

"Clumsily" is apt. I vow to nothing after? I'll not gainsay you, goodman Brock, although your archaic phrasing seems a bit moldy in these postmodern times. Your photo shows a contemporary man; you've got the Nobody Look just right.

I make art because . . . I feel, when asked, any artist would claim that the creation of art arrives from necessity. If one is equipped to recognize the different perspectives within the profane, it is ones [sic] role to present these new perspectives in the hopes of creating dialogue. As an ęsthete it becomes my roll [sic]to share these new perspectives for the benefit or detriment of others.

This part reminds me of our "Read It And Sleep" piece from way back.

Like James Cook, for example, from that old compilation: "When suitable metaphorical lodgings, or relocations of the intuitive, are developed within the material context, they are for me more charged than are ideas born primarily of mental constructing." Of course!

But back to Mr. Brock: ". . . the creation of art arrives from necessity" is merely a faux-profound way of saying, "I must make art, I have to make art." It's a typical self-important claim I've read hundreds of times, and unless one suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, the claim is a lie. I think these artists mean that for them art is a calling, but they are uncomfortable with the penumbra of spirituality around that word, so they avoid it.

The "necessity" claim also reminds me of those arrogant billboards around town awhile back, from The Arizona Community Foundation, one of which featured Hector Ruiz with the tagline "I create for you --now it's your turn." They were asking for money, as if it was a citizen's obligation to support his crap. He's not creating for me, anyway. Is there any chance someone will pay him to stop?

But I digress. I was on a roll with Mr. Brock:

"If one is equipped to recognize the different perspectives within the profane--"

Just more jumped-up fauxfundity. Profane is usually opposed to sacred, so looking at the profane from all angles simply allows one distinct views of the selfsame thing, like walking around the trio of palm trees in Mr. Brock's "Concave Convex Study," the label for which Ms. Lawton and Ms. Peterson screwed up as well. (Are they even awake down there?)

There's plenty more, but I'll stop with the roll/role pairing, since the mistake appears in the same short paragraph. Ladies, please! Do you need visual aids? Okay, here are two types of roll. As for role, we can point to Elizabeth "Nocahontas" Warren's role as a Cherokee, for example.

If you need more help with the English language, my email is always available.

[CODA: The photograph of the drink flanked by two depictions of Our Lady is another example of the casual blasphemy current in our culture, like people wearing rosaries for fashion, not devotion. But I'm sure if Our Lady appeared to Mr. Brock, he would crumple like an origami puppy and whimper for forgiveness --as he should.]


Posted by Jerome at July 14, 2012 02:00 PM | TrackBack
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